Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis is back at the drawing board.
The man behind many of the innovative and entertaining in-season college basketball events that currently dot the non-conference landscape – including last weekend’s PK-80 event in Portland – has a new pet project that he’s working on: Another 16-team event featuring two eight-team tournaments, but instead of playing the games in neighboring arenas, the games will be played simultaneously, in the same building, with nothing but a curtain separating court A from court B.
This is not the first time that Hollis has voiced this idea, and I am so here for it.
The games would have to be played in a dome with the courts situated like they are in Syracuse’s Carrier Dome. There will be some issues with the noise – whistles and buzzers going off on one court are going to inevitably get heard on the other court – but the event itself will be unique.
But the key is going to be getting enough good teams to populate the event that it matters.
That has not been talked about enough regarding the PK-80 event.
There really was nothing unique about eight-team tournaments being played from Thursday-Sunday of Thanksgiving Week. Hell, the Wooden Legacy and the Advocare Invitational, events that have been around for years, took place last week. The difference, however, is that the big draws at the Wooden Legacy were Saint Mary’s and San Diego State. The final of the Advocare Invitational was a little bit better. It featured West Virginia and Missouri, a game that would have been much more intriguing had Michael Porter Jr. not missed it undergoing surgery.
The PK-80, on the other hand, had four semifinal games: Michigan State-UConn, Duke-Texas, Florida-Gonzaga and North Carolina-Arkansas. The title games might as well have been the Champions Classic Part II: Michigan State vs. North Carolina and Duke vs. Florida.
An event like that, like the one that Hollis is currently dreaming of launching, is only going to be as good as the teams that show up to play.